Ben Kingsley was at the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiere, as revealed by the film’s official Twitter account. Why is this relevant? Well, because Kingsley’s presence all but confirms the actor is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the upcoming movie, reprising his role as the fake-Mandarin he played in Iron Man 3.
The Mandarin is originally an Iron Man villain in the comics, the reason why his criminal organization, the Ten Rings, was all over Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man trilogy. Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) first hired the Ten Rings to kidnap Tony Stark in the first Iron Man film, but the Mandarin would not show up until the last installment in the trilogy. Sort of. Played by Kingsley, this version of the Mandarin was a façade, an actor playing an evil overlord to justify the actions of the true villain, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce).
The fake-Mandarin had a mixed reception by fans, which led Marvel to bring Kingsley back for the short film All Hail the King. In All Hail the King, Kingsley’s character is kidnapped from prison by a criminal who says he’s working for “the real Mandarin,” who was not exactly happy about an actor pretending to be the leader of the Ten Rings.
Now that Shang-Chi will introduce Tony Leung Chiu-wai as Wenwu – the real Mandarin – Marvel has the perfect opportunity to let us know what exactly happened to Kingsley’s character. And, by the looks of the film’s premiere, they are well aware that Kingsley deserves to finish his character journey on the MCU. This move is in line with producer Kevin Feige’s previous declarations, which confirmed the upcoming movie is connected to Tony Stark’s kidnapping at the beginning of the MCU.
Kingsley is not the only MCU returning character on Shang-Chi. As revealed by a previous trailer, Benedict Wong will also be returning as Wong, Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) right arm. The crossovers don’t stop there, though, as the master of magic will be fighting The Incredible Hulk’s Abomination. Tim Roth is expected to come back as the voice of Abomination in the movie before appearing in the upcoming She-Hulk series.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton from a script he co-wrote with David Callaham and Andrew Lanham, Shang-Chi’s cast includes Simu Liu as the titular hero, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, Florian Munteanu as the villain Razor Fist, and Meng’er Zhang as Shang-Chi’s estranged sister Xialing, Michelle Yeoh as the protector of a mythical city Jiang Li, Fala Chen, and Ronny Chieng.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will arrive in theaters on September 3.